Monday, September 05, 2005

The Day After Tomorrow?

This picture reminded me of that movie, The Day After Tomorrow. If someone told me about it, I would find it as implausible as the movie (you have to was hokey) but look upon this photo...and shudder.

(I got the pic from the NY Times.)

Has the Jerry Reached a Verdict?

Jerry Rice retired from the NFL today instead of being the 4th or 5th receiver on the Broncos roster.

I was hoping that he would find a place in the line-up, if only because he's a living legend, but it wasn't to be. Younger guys, faster guys, hungrier guys all have more to play for. The last few years, Jerry Rice wasn't playing for pride, championships, records, more money, or any of that crap. No, Jerry was playing for character. And character is a rare thing these days, indeed.

So, so long, Jerry. We barely knew ye!

(I've got tickets to the Dec 24 Broncos-Raiders game and I'm telling you now, I'm going to scream myself horse. Oh I crack myself up. Two puns in one post!)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Mitt on Gay Marriage

Just read a Chris Matthews interview with Mitt Romney on gay marriage. It prompted some derisive giggles and a loud "What?!"

Choice nugget #1:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think there's any difference, really, between a gay marriage and something called a civil union?

GOV. MITT ROMNEY, MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I would rather have neither, to tell you the truth. I'd rather that domestic partner benefits, such as hospital - hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples. I don't want civil unions or gay marriage.

Okay, Mitt, you're a Republican and most Republicans don't get elected unless they're against gay marriage. Stating the obvious.

This is what prompted the "what?" response.
MATTHEWS: You mean if we called it marriage II or barriage or come up with some other word, and yet the law was exactly the same, that would be significant?

ROMNEY: Well, I'm not sure we are going to come up with a different word.

But if you say that the society is entirely indifferent between whether you have heterosexuals or homosexual couples marrying, then how do you justify, for instance, having birth certificates that include the names of mothers and fathers? We have same-sex couples in my state now saying, we ought to remove mother and father from our birth certificate, instead saying parent A and parent B.

We have schools that believe that it's inappropriate to consider mother and father in textbooks. Some have said that that's two (sic) hetero-centrist.

Okay, first this really a problem? Do we really have a large vocal constituency out there demanding that birth certificate forms be redesigned to say Parent A and Parent B? And exactly how many schools have declared war on the words "mother" and "father?"

I wonder how come, on a show called Hardball, the host (Chris Matthews) didn't knock that straw man down.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem

Mr. President, if you're not going to help the city of New Orleans, can you please get out of the way?

That includes staging phony photo ops for warm and fuzzy pictures to hang on the walls of your presidential library. Hey, if you're somewhere doing something courageous and a photographer snaps your picture, fine. But please, leave the production design to Hollywood. It's inappropriate during a disaster, not to mention very misleading. Some of your followers might actually think you're doing something useful...and let's face it, many of them aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Also, fire this guy. He obviously doesn't know what he's talking about. The American people expect better, and so should you.

The Dark Side of Nepotism

Meet Michael Brown, the "embattled head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency." It's slowly coming to light that this guy's only qualifications are that he's a white male lawyer, not to mention a FOB. (Friend of Bush.)

In 2000, Michael D. Brown of the International Horse Association gave the George W. Bush campaign $1000 total. Three years later, he was appointed as Under-Secretary of FEMA. Here's the official account. Surely it's a stretch to think that a $1000 contribution can buy you a cush job, but it's an even bigger stretch to think that Brown is the best candidate for the job. His background in law is impressive, but did it prepare him to deal with the worst natural disaster this country has ever seen?

I think his performance during Katrina speaks for itself.

Vera - RIP

I cried when I read this:

Sunday morning, a woman’s body remained lying at the corner of Jackson Avenue and Magazine Street — a business area in the lower Garden District with antique shops on the edge of blighted housing. The body had been there since at least Wednesday.

As days passed, people covered her with blankets or plastic.

By Sunday, a short wall of bricks had been built around her body, holding down a plastic tarpaulin. On it, someone had spray-painted a cross and the words, “Here lies Vera. God help us.”

Not only is that heartbreaking, but it's shameful.

Spreading the Disease

I haven't written anything on Katrina yet, not because of apathy, but because I really don't know what to say, nor do I think anything I have to say will be particularly useful. (I also admit that I don't want to sound too shrill in condemning the government's response...because I truly feel that even though the government didn't cause the hurricane, they dropped the ball. Example: At my work, we were preparing for power outages and massive network disruptions even before Katrina hit Florida and curved around towards Nola. If the phone company can prepare in advance, how come FEMA can't? I digress....)

Anyway, I'll shut up and point you here. I gave them $20, not much in the big scheme of things, but that's enough for a few cases of bottled water.

On a completely unrelated topic, Anthrax (the band, not the disease) is releasing two new CDs on 9-20-05, the Anthrology compilation and another live CD, Alive 2, recorded with the original "classic" line-up.

The Anthrology I could live without. Since I already have all those songs, I can justify not buying it, even though the originals will be digitally remastered. After re-recording classic material with John Bush on The Greater of Two Evils, a remaster is somewhat underwhelming. (Besides, Anthrax already has two greatest hits collections. A third is more than redundant.) I will, however, get the live CD, if only to hear what the classic line-up sounds like now. Scott, Frankie, and Charlie haven't lost a step, but can Joey and Dan still shred like they did back in the 80s? We shall soon see...

Of course, all of this has caused me to review the John Bush era, since apparently Bush's involvement in the band has been put on hold while they get this classic line-up reunion thing out of their system. (Or will Anthrax try to be the first band to juggle lead singers? Doubt it.)

I remember, when Anthrax first announced that Joey was gone and John was in, and I was shocked, disappointed. I didn't think they would last, and I was a diehard fan. All the fans who were on the fence, or kinda liked Anthrax, abandoned them. If you did a scientific study, you would learn that this probably had a definite effect on the band's "most underrated metal band" designation. They didn't suck after that, but they definitely went in a different direction.

John's a different singer, more gravel-throated than Joey, less operatic. The lyrical content steered away from comic books and Stephen King novels and more towards "you-me" abstractions. (By "you-me," I mean songs that are about "me" and addressed to "you," whoever that is. Rollins Band is another band that can't escape this lyrical trap.)

But with that said, I really like the Bush material. Sound of White Noise has some truly classic tracks, "Potters Field" and "Room for One More" being the most obvious choices. The record also displays an annoying tendency of the band...the obligatory ballad. The stinker on White Noise is "Only," a song that some people inexplicably think is good. Blegh. Unfortunately on Stomp 442 (the second Bush era album) they take this to absurd lengths with two, count em two, crappy ballads full of cheap sentiment and uninspiring chord changesm first the stinker "Nothing" and then the really bad one, "Bare." These songs are nothing more than lame attempts at a radio-ready single, which is a shame because anyone who heard these clunkers were definitely not going to go out and buy the album. Those songs sucked, and from that, you can guess that the band does too.

I don't know if was misguided ambition that led the band, or its management, to push the fluff first, but if you listen to "Nothing" or "Bare" today, they just don't hold up. By contrast, songs like "King Size" and "American Pompeii" not only hold up, but they sound more vital than most of the songs released today. Check out the riff on "Drop the Ball" or even "Tester." That's the sound fans want to hear. The crunch, the stomping. Forget about the three-chord progressions and sappy lyrics.

Don't give us schlock. Give us rock!

(Disclaimer: On their latest album of new material with Bush, We've Come For You All, there's only one ballad, "Safe Home," and surprisingly, it's not that bad.)